Jerry Winterton, the wrestling coach at Cary High School since 1981, has been named the National Wrestling Coaches Association's 2009 National Coach of the Year.
Winterton's teams have won 608 matches and lost 33 during his 36-year coaching career. Twenty of the losses came during his first three seasons, when he coached at East Wake High.
Winterton has coached 48 individual state champions, and the Imps have won 19 state titles, including the last five N.C. High School Athletic Association individual tournament team championships.
"I am flabbergasted," Winterton said. "It is unbelievable. I don't put myself in that class of coaches. I'm just a wrestling coach at a high school down in North Carolina. I really don't understand how this could happen."
In 2007, Winterton was named the National High School Coaches Association wrestling coach of the year.
"Two different associations, but two tremendously great honors," Winterton said.
Cary wrestlers have made an impact on the national level. Joey Farnsworth was a junior national champion and this year Eloheim Palma won the senior heavyweight national championship.
"Coach Winterton is a great example of the type of person that the NWCA continues to recognize," Mike Moyer, the NWCA executive director, said in a release. "Not only is he an educator, but he has devoted his years in this sport to molding the next generation in the sport of wrestling. His longevity and accomplishments as a high school coach are remarkable."
Winterton went to high school in Verona, N.Y., and came to North Carolina as an assistant coach for N.C. State coach Bob Guzzo. Winterton later coached at East Wake High before going to Cary.
"We have a great situation here at Cary," Winterton said. "Because of the sacrifices and work that kids made in previous years, our wrestlers now know what it takes to be successful.
"I've always had good kids, but in the last five or six years we've had kids who have done well on the national level. All the credit needs to go to them."
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-829-8910